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Social media is revitalizing the future of TV; survey shows

Social media is having a profoundly positive impact on TV viewing, as a new group of highly-engaged TV viewers are connecting with peers over social networks to talk about programs and advertisements. This is the finding of Initiative’s latest global report, a research and analytics study into social television. Entitled “The New Power of Television: How Social is Revitalizing the Future of TV”, the report explores how television is enjoying a revival thanks to new digital technology and the rise of social media. It shows that viewers by using social media are influencing the content and brand choices of their social peer group.

Sarah Ivey, EVP, director, Communication Planning, Worldwide, Initiative, said, “The synergistic effects between television and social are just the beginning of the possibilities. What is fascinating is that television is now a central navigation point in a brand experience where people can engage and create their own version of the brand story across many screens. Brands are being rewarded when they innovate in this space…it’s a truly exciting opportunity.”

This report shows that television is anything but dead – as was being proclaimed by the advertising experts across the world. This in fact had pushed marketers and agencies to search for creative and media options beyond the 30 second spot. However, this research conducted by Initiative shows that the future for TV has never looked so healthy. Rather than replace the idiot box, digital technology has given TV more screens and devices on which to broadcast and given rise to a social media phenomenon that is actually amplifying both programming and creative messaging, the report says.

In fact TV viewing working in tandem with social media has created a new group of highly influential consumers, the TV Talker – a term that defines very engaged viewers in the age group of 16-54. They have become influencers because they share ads they like and post frequently to their larger social network, sharing brand stories and driving ad messaging.

According to Ivey, with “The New Power of Television”, Initiative explains how TV and social media are now providing marketers with a synergistic pairing that is delivering unexpected creative and media opportunities.  “We unveil a new group of technology-enabled, engaged TV viewers who are now influencing brand choice and purchase decisions through social media. Television is driving online conversation which, in turn, is driving people to watch more TV,” she added. Based on this study Initiative has defined a series of key pointers for marketers looking to tap into this vast resource. The agency advices that marketers should create fully-orchestrated TV Talking experiences over time – before, after and, critically, during broadcast; should create a multi-screen and multiple element experience to make the brand easy to share and easy to explore. The brand marketers and agencies also need to implement social governance strategies to maintain a strong relationship with the valuable TV Talkers. For effective connect, the companies need to invest in analytics to prove the value of TV Talk on brand equity. Finally they should test and learn new technologies to give their brands a “first-mover” advantage.

Using its online consumer panel The Connections Panels, Initiative spoke with consumers in Australia, and China in the APAC market besides other countries including Argentina, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, the US and the UK to learn about how TV and social media are now working in combination to provide a hugely powerful advertising medium.